Welcome to this week’s Spooky Flash Fiction!
Four more weeks of haunting fun to come!
Since When Do Banshees Try to Help?
Today’s Flash Fiction Friday is brought to you by:
A Wailing Banshee
A Bottle of Pumpkin Spice
A Pile of Leaves
“We gather here today to mourn our beloved cat, Muffy.”
A fall breeze threatened to chill the tear running down my cheek. I wiped it away.
Lance continued. “Muffy was a good cat.”
Lance shot her a glare, but didn’t say anything.
I had plenty of claw scars on my arms, and Muffy had pushed at least three of mom’s coffee mugs off the counter and onto the tile floor.
My mind turned to when Muffy had intercepted the bullies from school, then herded them to the end of the street and wouldn’t let them leave. For being so fluffy, he sure was mean sometimes.
He didn’t deserve what had happened to him.
My eyes darted to Joan. She gave me a cold look. A look that said if I opened my mouth I was dead.
“He was a good cat,” I said.
“Thank you, Krissy,” Lance said. He returned his glare to Joan. “What have you brought?”
“Muffy’s favorite toy.” Joan took a few steps to the spot of freshly turned dirt and set the laser pointer on the ground.
The wind rustled the nearby pile of leaves. Brittle, crunching sounds filled the air, followed by an unearthly wail.
“What’s she doing here?” Joan asked.
I looked and found a miniature woman dressed in a grey cloak approaching.
“Did—did you call a banshee?” Lance asked me.
I shook my head.
We both looked at Joan. The hard expression on her face told me she hadn’t called the banshee either. “Well, Muffy was part of our family.” I hated that my voice squeaked.
None of us were ignorant of the banshees. Our mother had hired three of them when our father had died. The tiny women had spent days wailing the lament of his loss. After a while I’d grown accustom to it.
“Maybe mom called,” Lance said.
Joan’s lips—pressed together hard—turned white.
The banshee stopped a few feet away. She took a moment to finish her wail, before dipping her head at me.
I swallowed hard, and avoided my sibling’s eyes. I knew they’d be thinking I called the woman, but I hadn’t! Why would I? I didn’t want to incur Joan’s wrath as Muffy had.
The banshee started again, but this time it sounded more like a muffled cry. It seemed odd to have a banshee there for their cat, but stranger things had happened in this little town.
Joan sniffed and turned back to Lance. “Let’s get this over with.”
Lance’s eyes darted to the banshee, then back to Joan. It took him a moment before he remembered he was supposed to ask me what I had brought. “Krissy, what have you brought?”
I reached down and picked up the glass bottle of pumpkin spice syrup. There wasn’t much left, and I’d found a new one in the cupboard. Mom would never miss this one. I approached the grave and set the bottle in the dirt. “I brought Muffy’s favorite bottle to knock off the counter.”
The banshee’s moans faltered, as if she were stifling a laugh.
I kept my eyes on Lance, who gave me a nod. “An excellent tribute.” He straightened his shoulders. “Muffy, go to the land of your ancestors. Be at peace. Chase many strings, and knock many things off of counters.”
Another tear welled, and I wiped it away. I resisted the urge to look at Joan. The weight of her gaze pressed down on me, and my insides burned in both fear and anger.
Lance went on. “Now, a moment of silence.”
We all bowed our heads. All except the banshee, who kept moaning.
I cracked an eye and found Joan giving the banshee a death glare.
The banshee looked back at her, not flinching.
“Have some respect,” Joan said.
The banshee stopped making noise until Lance cleared his throat.
I lifted my head, and the banshee started again.
Joan slashed the air with her hand and took a step toward the miniature woman. “You’re work is done. Leave.”
The banshee lifted an eyebrow and shook her head. As far as I knew, they only made noise to mourn the dead or dying.
Joan turned on me. “Did you call her?”
The bubble of cold that surrounded Joan pressed on me, and I took a step back. “No!” I held my hands out in front of me.
Joan studied me, her bright blue eyes looking into my soul.
What did I need to do to convince her?
Lance saved me. “Maybe mom did.”
Joan swiveled her head to our older brother. “Does mom know Muffy is dead?”
“I—I don’t know.”
“Did you call her?”
Lance shook his head. “Of course not.”
We all looked at the banshee, who got louder.
“Why are you here?” Joan took a few steps closer to the banshee and pointed at her face.
The banshee met her gaze without flinching.
A sinking feeling threatened to pull me into the ground.
“Stay away from us.” Joan spat at the banshee’s feet, then turned and walked away. “Come on.”
I stayed riveted in place. The banshee’s dark eyes met mine, and her countenance seemed to soften.
I swallowed. “It’s one of us?”
She nodded, still wailing.
“Can you tell me who?”
No answer. Not even a twitch of her cheek.
I flinched. Who would it be?
Who did it need to be?